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DOE seeking feedback on distributed wind energy systems

15 August 2014

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Program is seeking (DE-FOA-0001155) feedback from the wind industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders regarding the Energy Department’s new perspective on Distributed Wind Research & Development (R&D) focus areas in order to inform future activities and priorities.

Distributed wind energy systems are commonly installed on residential, agricultural, commercial, institutional, and industrial sites, connected either physically or virtually on the customer side of the meter (to serve on-site load) or directly to the local distribution or micro grid (to support local grid operations or offset nearby loads).

Because wind turbines are characterized as being used in a “distributed application” based upon their location relative to end-use and power-distribution infrastructure, rather than on technology size or project size, the distributed wind market includes wind turbines and projects of all sizes.

Defining distributed wind by technology application, rather than size, has shifted the R&D model to include all wind technologies used in distributed applications—small, medium, and large. The Energy Department invites input from the public regarding this shift in perspective and the Wind Program’s newly established distributed wind research and development focus areas. These focus areas are:

  • Distributed Wind Resource Characterization and Assessment. Improving distributed wind resource characterization is a significant crosscutting opportunity to reduce Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), increase stakeholder confidence, properly site distributed wind systems, and improve grid planning and operation.

  • Turbine Technology. Optimizing design tools and next-generation wind technology for distributed wind resources represents a significant opportunity to increase energy capture and reduce costs, thereby lowering the LCOE for distributed wind.

  • Distributed Grid Integration.Removing distributed wind integration barriers, and improving the understanding of the impacts or benefits on the electric grid, will help accelerate distributed wind deployment and improve gird operations and planning at both the distribution and transmission levels.

  • Soft Cost Reduction. Local zoning and interconnection requirements do not generally address distributed wind energy systems, adding unnecessary time and costs to distributed wind projects. In an effort to enhance the Wind Program’s portfolio in this topic area, the Program believes that streamlined permitting requirements and interconnection procedures represent significant opportunities for time and soft cost reductions.

Responses to this Request for Information are due by 25 September 2014.

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